A Recipe: Whisky Truffles with Burnt Caramel Pecan Praline

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Ode to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Autumn -cold, dark and dank starts, wind rattling the window panes and slick piles of leaves mulching underfoot. Summer's soft ripe and crimson is long gone making way for deep russets, rich purples and basalt greens. Bring out your blankets, snuggle down and reach for regular doses of comfort.

Dark, rich and smoky, the contrasting textures and crunch of praline make these truffles very autumnal for me. Great with your nose in a book and a cup of lapsang souchong.
Makes 24 truffles.
For the truffle mix:
150g of dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids),
25g unsalted butter,
2 tbsp Whisky (something peaty like an Islay malt -Laphroaig or Lagavulin perhaps),
175ml double cream
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a mixing bowl. Dot with the butter and add the whisky. In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and remove from the heat immediately. Pour over the chocolate and butter, allow to melt and mix thoroughly. Cool, cover with cling film and then chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2h.
For the praline:
100g pecans roughly chopped,
300g caster sugar,
6 tbsp water,
Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and set to one side. On a low heat, toast the pecans -taking care not to let them burn (easily done!) and then set aside. Place the caster sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the water and on a low heat allow to dissolve. Turn the heat up and allow to bubble until dark brown. Do not stir the sugar, but if you see crystals developing at the edges, brush down with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Take off the heat, allow the bubbles to die down and then add the toasted pecans and stir thoroughly. Pour out onto the baking sheet lined with paper and allow to cool. Once cold, break into pieces and crush with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder if you prefer a finer powder.
Take the truffle mix out of the fridge and scoop some out using a teaspoon. Shape into a ball and then roll in the crushed praline until covered. Eat straight away or place into an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Any extra praline can be stored up to a week in an airtight container -tastes wonderful in porridge or sprinkled over ice cream.

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